Recent Evaluations of UCLA Recruits

We've seen several top players and UCLA prospects recently at playoff games in Southern California, including such players as 6-8 sophomores David and Travis Wear, UCLA-committed senior Chace Stanback, sophomore wing Rome Draper, and more......

We've been to several Southern California playoff games in the last couple weeks and had the opportunity to see numerous players. Here are our latest thoughts on some of the top prospects we've seen lately.

Chace Stanback, 6-8 SR SF Los Angeles (Calif.) Fairfax. Stanback has been terrific in the last couple games we've seen him. Against Crenshaw, and future Washington Husky Darnell Gant, Stanback had a very good game. He showed a little bit of everything in this game. His outside shot is solid out to 21-22 feet and he knocked down a couple threes. He put the ball on the floor and had several pull-up jumpers off the dribble. Stanback has become pretty accurate with his bank shots off the wing. Stanback was as active as we've seen him defensively in this game. He had at least six or seven blocks, with two of them coming on consecutive shots from Gant. Stanback has very good ball skills for a kid his size. He handles and passes like a guard. While he's not exceptional in any one part of the game, Stanback is good at most aspects. His versatility is one of his greatest strengths as a prospect. He's a deceptive athlete and he got up very well for a couple dunks in this game. While we previously have wondered if perhaps Stanback might grow out of the small forward spot – more from a defensive standpoint than offensively – we now could see a scenario where Stanback has the ability to defend the three and four. He's got a good frame and he should fill out very well once he gets in a college weight-training program.

Darnell Gant, 6-8 SR PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw, committed to Washington. We saw Gant play a couple games recently, the above mentioned Fairfax game, as well as a contest against Dorsey. Gant has long been one of our favorite prospects, both because of his talent and upside, but also because he's a terrific kid. The game against Fairfax wasn't one of his best, but he still had a pretty good game overall. One of our big complaints with Gant has been the way the Crenshaw coaching staff has misused him. He spends way too much time on the perimeter and the Crenshaw offense doesn't get him enough touches on the block. Gant does have a very nice touch out to 18-19 feet, though, and he's probably going to play both on the perimeter and inside when he gets to Washington. Gant has very good timing as a shot-blocker, as well as the length and quick leaping ability to affect a number of opponent's shots in the paint. He has all the physical tools to be a very good player in the Pac-10 and we expect to see much improvement from him once he gets some coaching.

Demar DeRozan, 6-6 JR SF Compton (Calif.) High. DeRozan is one of the top couple athletes in the west. A very explosive leaper, DeRozan has a great basketball body. His jumpshot has come a long way in the last six months and he's now pretty accurate out to 20 feet or so. He has all the tools to be an excellent defender and he's a decent on-the-ball defender right now. However, he's not a good team defender – loses vision off the ball, rotates slowly, loses focus, etc. His ball skills, overall, are just average. He has no left hand at the moment and he struggles when defenders get up in him on the perimeter. He's best when he gets the ball at a spot on the court where he can score without creating for himself. DeRozan has always been a human highlight film and he's usually good for a couple spectacular dunks a game. However, he's gotten away from playing solely for dunks and he's starting to show signs that he might be serious about becoming a player. All the tools are there – now he just has to put the work in terms of developing his ball skills and learn to play consistently with focus and energy. UCLA is watching him at this point.

Tyrese Breshers, 6-6 JR PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Price. The best shot blocker in the west, Breshers is exceptionally quick off the floor and extremely bouncy. He's also got very long arms and excellent anticipation when he comes off the weakside in help situations. Equally as impressive as his blocks are the situations when he doesn't go for the block. He's got a great feel for when he has the proper angle and chance for a block. A lot of shot blockers who don't have that feel end up getting in foul trouble. But Breshers has an almost uncanny feel about when to go for the block. He's got a big body and that, along with his long arms and bounciness, allows him to play "bigger" than he really is. Breshers has excellent hands and feet. He's still refining his low-post scoring moves, but the tools are all there for an outstanding player. If Breshers doesn't end up at one of the high-profile, big-time "name" programs, there will be people a few years from now saying "how'd he end up at that program?" He's one of the bigger sleepers in the country and I expect you'll be hearing a lot more about him in the spring when people get a chance to see him.

Corbin Moore, 6-10 JR C Los Alamitos (Calif.) High. Moore has improved considerably in the last year. Previously, he was a bit unassertive inside and he seemed to avoid contact. But he's filled out since last summer – he's quite a bit bigger – and he's got no problem going in the paint now. He's very good at establishing position in the paint and sealing off his man. He's got a soft touch around the basket and he's very accurate when he spotting up on the perimeter. He does, however, need to quicken up his release on his outside shot. He's not an explosive athlete, but he does have nice timing as a shot blocker and, overall, a pretty good feel for the game. Some coaches will be concerned about his limited athleticism, but you don't find many 6-10 kids with his frame and feel, so I expect Moore to end up at the high major level.

David Wear, Travis Wear, 6-8 SO PFs Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. The Wear twins played in a game against Compton last night that featured multiple high major prospects. Their own teammates Taylor King, Kamyron Brown and Alex Jacobson, plus Compton's Demar DeRozan and Edgar Garibay. But even with those talented upperclassmen in the game, the Wear twins were clearly the best prospects on the court – and it wasn't even close. It's rare that you find 6-8 post players who can play the game inside/out. It's really rare when you find them in the 10th grade. David and Travis both understand that, in order to fully reach their potential, they need to be able to play in the paint as well as on the perimeter. The twins father, Dave, was a player himself back in the day and he's obviously done a great job teaching his kids how to play the game. Their fundamentals, skill level and approach to the game are astonishing for kids their age. They both play with terrific focus and energy all the time. They can do just about anything you want a player to do on the court. They'll show you a nice jump hook in the lane, then pop out for a three on the next possession. They play on balance and in control. They make excellent decisions and play unselfishly. They have good frames, but they're still growing into their bodies and they're going to be much stronger a couple years from now. Once the current seniors leave Mater Dei, I expect the twins to really take off in terms of their games. As another scout said to me after the game last night, "it's going to be like watching two Dirk Nowitzkis at the high school level." Obviously, we're just talking about high school and it's way too early to be talking about the NBA version of Nowitzki. However, these two kids are definitely unique. With continued improvement, they have a chance to be outstanding players at the college level.

Jordan Hamilton, 6-7 SO PF Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey. Hamilton's strength as a player is his jumpshot. He's very accurate when given time and space to get it off. However, he has trouble at times creating his own shot and the best way to defend him is to get up in him on the perimeter. Hamilton has a good body, with fairly long arms, and he's a fairly good athlete. He's not real quick laterally, but gets up pretty good with a running start. Hamilton needs to improve his focus, especially at the defensive end, as he can sometimes get too concerned with scoring points. His jumpshot is going to get him a lot of attention – now he has to work on the other aspects of his game if he's to become a top prospect. He should be a better rebounder in high school, given his size, and he needs to learn to play within a team concept. However, he's got the tools and skill level to be a very good player someday if he can diversify his game.

Rome Draper, 6-6 SO SF Etiwanda (Calif.) High. Draper was academically ineligible for much of this season and he didn't look to be 100% in shape when we saw him recently in a playoff game. He's got a very nice stroke to the stripe – that's probably his best asset as a player. He looks to be a good, not great, athlete. Like most kids his age, his defense could be better (but it's not terrible). He seemed more comfortable catching and shooting, instead of creating his own shot off the dribble. We don't want to draw too many conclusions, as he hasn't played for much of the season. We'll probably have a better feel for him after the spring, when he's had a chance to play some more and get back in shape, but he looks like a potential high major prospect.


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